Spring is well and truly here. The weather is getting warmer, the days longer and plants are blooming. But what does Spring mean for many of us? Hay Fever! At Broad Oak Cranbourne Medical Centre we understand just how frustrating this condition is and how it can take a toll on your life on a daily basis. Luckily our team of highly experienced Cranbourne Doctors are here to help you get your Hay Fever under control.
What is Hay Fever?
Hay Fever is the widely used term for a condition known as allergic rhinitis, which is an allergic reaction to indoor and outdoor environmental allergens. According to the latest Roy Morgan Research, 26.6% of the population (or 5,141,000 Australians) suffered from allergic rhinitis in 2014–15. For those who suffer from hay fever, spring is less about celebration and more about medication; hence the important need to get your Hay Fever under control!
Hay Fever occurs when a person comes into contact with an allergen, such as, dust mites, pollen (from grasses, flowers and trees), animal hair or fur (dander), and fungal spores. Allergens are enzymes or proteins that affect the nose, eyes, ears, throat and sinuses. It can cause them to become irritated, swollen or inflamed.
A common misconception is that people only experience Hay Fever during Spring and Summer months. This is the peak time for airborne grass pollens. Seasonal Hay Fever is very common due to a high number of people being allergic to pollen. However, it can also affect people throughout the year. This type of Hay Fever is known as Perennial allergic rhinitis. It can be triggered by an allergy to mould spores, dust mites or animal hair around the home or workplace.
Hay Fever can be acquired at any age, however it generally starts in childhood or adolescence. In Australia, almost 1 in 5 people experience Hay Fever at some point during their lifetime. Those with a family history of allergies (especially asthma or eczema) are more likely to suffer from Hay Fever. Hay Fever and asthma share numerous risk and trigger factors. Most notably is a genetic predisposition to develop allergic reactions.
The most common symptoms of Hay Fever include:
- Red, itchy, watery or swollen eyes
- A runny or blocked nose
- Itchy nose, ears, throat
How to get your Hay Fever under control
An important part of managing Hay Fever is identifying the allergen/s causing your symptoms. In some cases this may be completely obvious. However, in other cases when it is not so clear, we recommend visiting a GP at our Cranbourne Medical Centre. One of our Doctors will be able to run some allergy tests (skin prick tests or allergen specific IgE blood tests) and analyse the results with your medical history to determine the appropriate course of action. In some instances, a GP Cranbourne may refer you to a specialist to get your Hay Fever under control.
The best way to lessen the frequency of Hay Fever symptoms is to avoid allergic triggers and take the right treatments. Your Cranbourne Doctor may recommend a number of medications to help relieve your symptoms such as, intranasal corticosteroid sprays, combined intranasal corticosteroid and antihistamine sprays, antihistamine medications, eye drops, decongestant nasal sprays or allergen immunotherapy.
If you want to get your Hay Fever under control, don’t hesitate to contact us today to book an appointment with one of our friendly Cranbourne Doctors at the Broad Oak Cranbourne Medical Centre.